Browsing through this on-line CRAG 2012-2013 Bi-Annual Report will provide you with a summary view of our activities and accomplishments during the period, and a snapshot of today’s CRAG. Less apparent, though, is the distance that has been travelled since CRAG started as a much smaller “experiment”, slightly over ten years ago: 2013 marked the tenth anniversary of the initial CSIC-IRTA consortium that, under the guidance of its founding director, Pere Puigdomènech, would later become CRAG, and that reached a milestone in 2011 when our facilities at the UAB campus were inaugurated.
The two years covered by this Report represented a period of change -and sometimes of stress and turmoil- for CRAG. They encompass the midst of an economic crisis that brought serious financial strains and that has had profound effects in the research enterprise in Spain and in our Center. They also coincided with the change in directorship at CRAG, which took place in early 2013, and with changes in CRAG’s external Scientific Advisory Board. It is because of the efforts of all CRAG members during this period that we secured stability for the Center, and that we achieved the excellent research results reported here: in the Scientific Highlights and in the other sections, and adding up to 160 scientific articles (85% published in first quartile journals) and 26 PhD theses.
Among the changes that were implemented at CRAG in 2012 and 2013, a most prominent one was its reorganization into four scientific programs to further develop the interdisciplinary scientific mission and the inter-institutional nature of CRAG (these programs are: Plant Development and Signal Transduction, Plant Responses to Biotic and Abiotic Stress, Plant Metabolism and Metabolic Engineering, and Plant and Animal Genomics). As it enters its second decade, CRAG will continue to evolve and consolidate, maintaining its focus on conducting excellent science, translating discoveries for the benefit of society, training researchers and students, and engaging in the public dialogue about plant and animal research. Furthermore, whereas still managing the aftermath of the economic crisis, CRAG relies on providing opportunities for young scientists – a priority for the forthcoming years.
José Luis Riechmann